"spirit, talent, attitude and neighborliness "

 

September eleven 2007 is Stan Sahlstrom day at the University of Minnesota and in the Rotary Club of St. Cloud.  The following short biography by his son Dr. Steven Sahlstrom will provide Rotary members and guests a more in-depth view into the life of the honoree. A celebration of Dr. SahlstromÕs life and achievements at the Rotary Club of St. Cloud saw several visiting Rotarians from Crookston under the leadership of Mary Cavalier, guests from the University of Minnesota including president Robert Bruininks, past president of the Crookston campus Dan Sargeant, Sharon Olson, and others. Regent John Frobenius arranged the speakers and addressed the honoree. Short presentations by Roland Specht-Jarvis, club MC, presidents Bruininks and Seargeant followed. Shawn Jarvis and Chris Lomheim provided the musical ambience for the celebration. The event was chaired by Rotary president Alan Herbst and attended by 130 persons in the Radisson Hotel in St. Cloud.

 

 

Short biography by Dr. Steve Sahlstrom

 

     Stan Sahlstrom was born on April 15, 1921, on a dairy farm near Milaca, Minnesota. Though he came from humble surroundings, Sahlstrom proved from an early age that he was destined to become a leader. He worked hard and excelled in school at all levels. Upon graduation from junior high he was named the outstanding boy in his graduating class. He was also elected senior class president in 1937.

 

During the years of the depression and drought, survival on the family farm was a struggle. This made Sahlstrom even more determined to gain a college education in agriculture and to provide leadership in agricultural development in Minnesota. With the advent of 4-H clubs in his county, he first had an opportunity to serve as president of a 4-H club and to learn of the opportunities in agricultural education that were available to him. From that beginning and through high school with the FFA, he earned the opportunity to attend the University of Minnesota in St. Paul and pursue a degree in agriculture. Sahlstrom went on to complete his Bachelors Degree in Agricultural Education at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul campus.

 

During his senior year at the U of M, Sahlstrom was proud to be elected to four honorary fraternities for his work as a student: AlphaSigma-Pi and Phi-Delta-Kappa in education, and Gamma-Sigma Delta and Alpha-Zeta in agriculture.

 

After graduation, Sahlstrom spent part of one year at the Marietta Public Schools where he established agricultural programs, including adult, young farmer and high school programs. In addition, he coached the basketball and baseball teams so that the students would be able to participate in athletic endeavors despite the fact that their regular coaches were serving overseas.

 

At the end of that year Sahlstrom also volunteered for the service and was inducted into the Army. From there he proceeded to Officer Candidate School with the Corp of Engineers at Fort Belvoir and was commissioned. While in Europe, Lt Sahlstrom met his future wife, Ludmilla, who was employed by the occupying forces in the telephone system in Salzburg, Austria.

 

The two were married in the fall of 1946 and then returned to Sahlstrom's hometown of Milaca, Minnesota. Sahlstrom then began work as an instructor in the GJ bill for farmers, a bill which he started at that time. During the second year he started the High School program and the ensuing FFA chapter, which was involved in major tree planting demonstrations. He was also very proud of his dairy judging team that won the State Judging contest in 1948. As a result of the work there, in 1951 Sahlstrom became a faculty member at the University of Minnesota in Agricultural Education, and some twelve of his students from Milaca became members of the Agricultural Education profession. He was extremely proud of these people, met with them frequently, and never missed a chance to sing their praises.

 

Sahlstrom spent the next ten years as an administrator at St. Cloud Teachers' College, during which time it became a State College. He was very proud of his efforts with the college, which grew from some twelve hundred students to some six thousand students during his time on the faculty.

 

1965 Sahlstrom received a call from the University administration asking if he might consider a position as Provost for the new campus of the University of Minnesota at Crookston. Thus began the greatest challenge of his life and the greatest opportunity to build a new college in a new location at the technical level. With his usual determination, Sahlstrom was able to recruit a great faculty and classes began one year later in 1966. He served in the position of Provost for over twenty years before he retired. He then served on the Board of Regents for two terms, a total of twelve years. Sahlstrom remained completely devoted to the University of Minnesota and for what it stands. He always maintained that it provided him with such a wonderful education and the opportunity to serve rural America that never would have been possible without the University education.

 

While engaged in an extremely active life as a professor and as a Provost, Sahlstrom continued his relationship with the military. In  1974 he was invited to attend the Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, and successfully completed that course study in 1976. His thesis for graduation, which focused on United States/Canadian Relations, was considered an excellent thesis and on par with his study of high school graduates that he completed for his doctorate at the University of Minnesota.

 

In addition to all of this, Sahlstrom attended a number of other schools throughout his forty years of service in the military as a Colonel in the Army Reserve, from which he retired in 1982. He was extremely proud of his service to the United States through his Reserve activity in the Corps of Engineers.

 

Horses were another important part of Sahlstrom' s life. He grew up using them on the farm, he rode captured German warhorses while serving in WWII, and he even assisted in the rescue and relocation of the famous Lippizaner horses from Czechoslovakia to Austria during that time. He also had a life-long relationship with the American Morgan Horse Association. In the late 1940's, the government decided to close the Morgan Horse Farm in Vermont, which had provided stallions on lease to farmers and ranchers throughout the Midwest and West and then bought back the offspring for the service of the Army Cavalry. Sahlstrom purchased approximately fifteen horses and brought them back to the Midwest. His goal was to start his own breeding program and to assist in the development of other breeding programs so that this all-American breed of beautiful, sturdy, and trustworthy horses would flourish. This led to the establishment of the North Central Morgan Horse Association with Sahlstrom as the first president. He was very proud of his Morgans and showed and trained extensively and successfully for approximately forty years.

 

In 1998 Sahlstrom was the first recipient of the University of Minnesota, Crookston, Equine Program's STAN Award (named to commemorate Sahlstrom's spirit, talent, attitude and neighborliness) for his exemplary service to the equine industry. Sahlstrom had established the Equine Program during his tenure at UMC.

In addition to his outstanding work in Agricultural Education, Sahlstrom was active in many other endeavors.

 

He was proud of his 50-year membership in Rotary, for which he served as a Rotary Governor in 1973-74. He combined the meetings of the International Association of Rotary in Lausanne, Switzerland, with a trip to Poland and thence to Russia to study education as practiced in a communist country. He was able to visit many institutions in the USSR and was impressed with the efforts to educate every person in some technical area. Over the years Sahlstrom has been very active with many community organizations.

 

He was active in the Chamber of Commerce both in St Cloud and in Crookston and became active in the American Cancer Society in his early years at St Cloud. At Crookston he became chairman of the ACS group there and shortly became state chairman of the American Cancer Society. In that role he traveled throughout the state visiting groups of ACS and trying to encourage activities that served cancer patients as well as providing funds for the many activities of the American Cancer Society.

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In 1962-63 Sahlstrom spent a year in Cyprus as a consultant to the Greek and Turkish Departments of Education, as well as being a consultant in Agricultural Education and in public school services. His attempt to bring the two groups together was thwarted by the breakout of war, forcing the Sahlstrom's to return to the U.S. They shipped their vehicle, a Fiat bus, to the Port of Athens and then drove up through Greece and Yugoslavia, and then back to his former station in Vienna, Austria. From there they went back to Salzburg and up through Germany where Sahlstrom had been stationed during WWII. They ended up in LeHavre, France, and then completed a trip to Sweden to look up relatives there. They then went back to the port of LeHavre, where they left their car, and went across to England and visited sites in the British Isles. It was a great experience for the four children and for the Sahlstroms to visit the sites that had been a part of their lives in the 40's. 

 

Sahlstrom has been honored by the 4-H clubs of America at the National level and at the State level, being named as the outstanding 4-H Alumnus of the Year. The FFA with the American Farmer Degree has also honored him for his work. He served on the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council and remained devoted to Agricultural Education at all levels. Sahlstrom was active with the Boy Scouts and was president of the board of the Northwestern Council of Boy Scouts headquartered in Grand Forks, North Dakota. He has been honored by many organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce of St Cloud and Crookston, as well as the Councilors Association, the Jay-Cees, and Rotary.

 

Sahlstrom has been given the Torch and Shield Award at Crookston and was extremely proud ofthe progress as he watched that institution grow. He participated in the recent inauguration of the new chancellor at Crookston and was proud of the growth at that campus. The Torch and Shield Award also honored Ludmilla Sahlstrom in 2003.

 

He was proud of his association with the College of Education of the University of Minnesota, and for its contributions to the state as a whole. In addition, the University of Minnesota, Crookston, honored him by having a building named after him, the Sahlstrom Conference Center. The community of Crookston also honored him by naming a street after him. Sahlstrom received both honors with great humility. The final tribute to Sahlstrom was the awarding of the Siehl Prize for Agricultural Excellence in 2003 by the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science. He was extremely proud of his relationship with that group and continued to support it in many different ways.